Annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative Award Winners Announced: Congratulations to Embassy Ouagadougou, Mission India, and Embassy Bangkok
The annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards recognize innovative leadership within the Department for sustainability, energy, and environmental diplomacy.
The first award is chosen by the Greening Council, a body of State Department senior officials that meets quarterly to advance the Department’s environmental priorities, chaired by the Under Secretary for Management. This year, the Council was particularly impressed by several submissions, including those from Embassy Conakry, Consulate Erbil, and Embassy Canberra. However, this year’s Greening Council winner is Embassy Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Embassy Ouagadougou has reduced its energy and water use, and leveraged its operations to help build capacity in country. In a great show of eco-diplomacy, the embassy worked with the local community to start two recycling programs, where none existed before. The embassy recycles newspaper through a reuse project with local prisons, and launched a glass bottle recycling program. A community garden and a loaner bike program also augment the embassy’s greening outreach.
The second award is the People’s Choice GDI Award, awarded by employee vote. With over 21,000 votes cast, this year’s Award goes to Mission India. The Mission is reducing its energy and water consumption across its facilities – despite having some older buildings, including a 128-year-old building in Hyderabad. These efforts are supported by several green teams and the Resource Conservation Unit, a team of engineers who work full-time on identifying water and energy savings.
The third award is an honorable mention for Excellence in Utility Management, chosen by the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations. This year the Award goes to Embassy Bangkok. Mission Thailand won two GDI Awards last year – the People’s Choice and the Greening Council. The embassy’s continuing efforts to increase energy efficiency and awareness of conservation reduced energy consumption in 17 of their largest buildings by more than 1,700,000 kilowatt hours from 2012 to 2014 – equivalent to one year of electricity use by 143 U.S. homes. In addition to these 17 buildings, totaling 440,000 square feet of space, they also reduced energy consumption in 85% of their residences.